Thursday, 08 April 2010

Father Brown

I imagine you're all astonished that with my constant posting, there was not a single thing written here yesterday. I am less surprised, as I know that I went to CAFDA yesterday. I must admit that it was the hardest time I've ever had spending money there. Usually the books pile up within minutes, but it took me about half an hour to find the first one. The advantage of this, of course, is that I pick up all sorts of unlikely things. I will say that I found a lovely (though unillustrated) copy of Fellowship of the Ring, so I can now read LotR in the bath quite happily until I get to Return of the King.

I picked up two volumes of short stories, which I do very rarely. The only other volume of short stories I own is a collection of Agatha Christie's Poirot from before he had full length novels of his own (I'll review those sometime). These were written by GK Chesterton, who I thought only wrote non-fiction and religious non-fiction at that (I have a biography he wrote of St Francis that I'll review sometime as well). These are stories of a Catholic priest who solves mysteries/crimes. They are somewhat reminiscent of Cadfael, except that the similarities end with the Catholic crime-solver bit. Father Brown lives in the 19th Century and drifts slowly and dreamily through mysteries solving them through intuition and a knowledge of human nature. He reminds me a great deal of Hercule Poirot, who I was particularly reminded of when I saw the full name of a major character - the Frenchman Hercule Flambeau. Rather makes you wonder about Christie's inspiration.

There are lovely, simple detective stories without the gory violence we've become accustomed to these days. A break for those tired of the violent descriptions so prevalent in modern detective fiction. Also, a good introduction to the genre for younger readers, as it combines crime and occasionally murder with a detective without too descriptive violence, no sex and less intricate plotting and fewer characters than Poirot.

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